I found this great post over at the SEOMoz blog the other day and have been chewing it over in my mind since I read it. Don’t like the name much: the 12 Step Landing Page Rehab Program. The author’s attempt at humour, IMHO, dimmed his excellent blog post by making fun of what is a serious issue. But the content of the post is indeed really great advice.
If your Inbound Marketing Automation system’s landing pages are performing brilliantly, you will not need the ideas he expresses, but really: when is a Landing Page’s performance so good, that it doesn’t need improvement? One or two of ours run at a nearly 50% conversion rates – pretty good numbers from what we can tell in our industry. But I’m left wondering what happens to every second visitor? This post is going to help me find out, and it will do the same for you. I say this as much has been written on this subject before, but this is an exceptional post which is why I’m going to lift the most important parts of it and repeat them here. Our thanks to Oli Gardner at Online Marketing for the original post. He called his post an infographic, but before we get to the great artwork and informative content it showcases, let’s begin with a little sanity check.
Just what are your conversion rates today? While the author of the post didn’t start here, I like to know both what my performance is before I start, and then what measurement I will set as my first objective for this exercise. First objectives, remember, because like all of our processes which follow the Think, Plan, Do, Measure and Repeat mantra, I’m going to improve on this first take each time I Repeat (hopefully).
Okay, let’s take a look at his first Infographic:
You can see why he called it the 12 Step Program, but I’ll omit his remarks on doctors, alcohol and “meetings”, to concentrate on the steps themselves:
- Use a separate Landing Page for every source feeding them. Yes, one page per source so you can track them more effectively, and so that you can aim them more specifically towards the ad, or offer. Ideally, each Landing Page should be viewed as a seamless component of the campaign which drives people to it and it should thus be specifically designed for this campaign and this source of leads.
- Use A/B testing – sometimes called Multivariate Testing – to try out different forms of the page and measure the various responses and conversions. Guessing doesn’t count, in other words, only solid measurements tell you the real story. There are various testing services available online – just search for A/B Testing and play around with a few to see which ones offer the best set of features for you.
- Does you Ad’s message match the headline and copy on the page? This seems like an obvious mistake, but it happens often when pages, like your Home Page, are used as a generic catch-all landing page. If you take this lesson to heart, and the one in (1), above, and design a specific page for each campaign, you can use the same iconography on the landing page as you used in the ad or social media stream to entice the visitor in the first place. It’s a good idea to work through this process by starting with the creation of the concept around the element of your product or service you are promoting, aiming it of course directly at the Persona for this market segment, and for the stage in this Persona’s buying-cycle. Once you have this designed, you invent the right headline to go with the promotion and then work up some ads which use this headline or variants of it. Starting here, versus beginning with the Ad, works better because the Ad is easier to bend into the right words than it is for the page as a whole.
- Do you show videos or images of the your solution/product being used by a real person? Obviously this is not possible if you sell nuclear reactors or something which (a) is not “used” by a single person, or (b) in use would not be understood by watching (many solutions fall in to this category – watching a website running its Marketing Automation system is not likely to draw a crowd). But where you can show people interacting with your product or solution it both adds a human side to what you do, and it gives you a chance to differentiate your solution from others in powerful ways. Smiling faces using a product were not invented by Madison Avenue for nothing, right?
- Do you use Video? Videos convert more visitors – period. It really is that simple – put video on the page and you could increase your conversion rates by as much as 80%, according to a study by eyeviewdigital.com.
- Do you provide directional cues to guide your visitor’s eyes to your Calls to Action, or CTAs. These are elements like arrows, human eyes looking at the CTA, portal shapes likes arches or frames around the CTA, shades of colour, etc.
- Are you trying to capture too much data in one form? Asking more than 3 or 4 questions usually scares people off so the tradeoff here is data versus conversion rates. And remember to weigh up the length of the form or number of questions against the visitor’s perceived value of your giveaway. If you’re asking them to spend more than a minute for anything less than a 40 page e-book, they may well walk away.
- Is your copy and content really tight? Edit it ruthlessly – people tend to scan information on the web, rather than read it. So make it easy to scan by making it really short.
- Enable Social Sharing. Provide social mechanisms to encourage people to share or bookmark the landing page. This may not be applicable to all landing pages, but if there’s something on the page which may appeal to others, make it easy for visitors to share it by placing the appropriate buttons in a prominent position.
- Trust and Social Proof. Show live social streams and testimonials to help people trust your site, page and offers. People respect the opinions of their peers much more than they do your own – share the good opinions of others with your target audience.
- One Page – One Purpose. This is Marketing 101, but it helps to repeat it here: a page focused specifically on one objective, and thus one not cluttered with additional information, will convert the highest number of its viewers. Or, expressed another way, make every message on the page reinforce one single point.
- Post Conversion Marketing. At the moment of conversion, your prospects are as highly engaged with your page and your site as they are going to be for a while. So hit ‘em with another offer, or the next round of information, or a questionnaire… At the very least, embedded amongst your “Thank-You” should be something more about the company, or your solution, made available to this visitor now in a form encouraging him or her to explore a little more. And of course, you should enter the registered visitor into your drip marketing cycle, to move them along to the next stage in their buying cycle.
The original post is much longer and does contain even more advice than this summary. It expands on the points I’ve made with examples and additional notes. But this ought to give you plenty of food for thought.
Bit-by-Bit # 33 from Eric.